“In future I wish to write a book around my life, mainly focusing on what it’s like being a black woman living with disability…”


What makes an individual a hero? Is it the way they go out of their way to uplift others? Is it the way they do everything in their power to enforce change in our communities? Or perhaps, the way they just miraculously rise above adversity through great resilience? What if I told you that the individual, we’re about to tell you about has done all of those?

Growing up the only child, Thato Mphuthi received so much love and attention from her parents; she was a beautiful baby after all. So beautiful that she just had to be seen by everyone and that is when her pageant baby period began. Displayed before crowds and the spotlight, Thato went on to participate in the Miss Megatong Primary School in the year 2000 and emerged victorious.

However, the glory and spotlight didn’t last. Sometime later, Thato began to experience discomfort under her feet that made it terribly hard to set her feet on the ground. This sudden ailment alarmed her parents, leading to her seeking help from one place to another. It became a daunting task, as her reality fell into one disappointment to another from all the promises of people that claimed to possess the skill to aid her but failed. As the discomfort grew more and more unbearable, Thato’s parent eventually sought medical help and it was later discovered that she has been diagnosed with tuberculosis in her hip. This diagnosis lead to her going into surgery, however, it also resulted in her having to make use of crutches to move around.

 In hopes of acquiring a normal life, Thato opted for public school, dismissing her doctor’s advice to enrol at a special school. Her enrolment in public school was met with saddening negativity and bullying. The teachers attempted to intervene, and it worked for a while, till she was tormented once again. The teachers were not aware of this, to them everything was fine, and Thato was performing brilliantly in class. However, inside she was breaking, so much pain all bottled up until it formed a voice. During a poetry assessment, Thato performed an emotional and tear dropping poem called “Imizwa yam” or my feelings. Within this piece she portrayed her story and all the pain she has been subjected to. From that moment on, everyone understood her pain and she received the respect, love and care that were due to her.

“I started leading a normal life after that and started making friends and going out more. Poetry has been therapeutic up to this day, when it gets tough I reflect on my old pieces of writing and I find strength to get through” she explained.

Today, Thato Mphuthi is an excellent academic at Central Johannesburg TVET College, and a passionate human rights activist, advocating for the differently abled, the LGBTIAQ+ community, women and children. She is also the president of Young Urban Women, a group dedicated to the empowerment of women in all backgrounds by sharing knowledge on topics, such as, economic justice and body integrity. On this platform she gets the opportunity to share her life experiences and preach self-love to all those who need to hear. All this incredible work has landed her the nomination for South African Heroes Awards, which will take place at Uncle Tom’s Hall, Orlando West in Soweto on the 27th of April 2019.



“In future I wish to write a book around my life, mainly focusing on what it’s like being a black woman living with disability and hopefully publish my anthology. Of course, I’ll also continue to serve the community like I’ve been doing. Lastly, I hope and wish to have my own organization that will deal with building children with disabilities said Mphuthi.

To vote for this resilient lady please SMS “HERO C4” to 45633, SMS costs R1,50. Free and bundle SMSs do not apply.

“I am very excited to be nominated for this award. I must admit that I’m slightly nervous, but also quite excited. The excitement softens the nervousness though, so I will be alright. I am grateful for the love and support I have been receiving and I’d like to thank you all for recognizing the work that we do behind scenes to enforce change in our communities” Thato said.



South African Heroes Awards take place on the 27th of April at Uncle Toms Community Centre in Orlando, Soweto. Tickets are R150 general & R250 VIP – available at ticketpro http://www.ticketpros.co.za/…/7b468dfc-6282-563e-ae96-5ca45…


Performances include Puleng March, Amstel, Mude Mude, APS D & many more.


By Tebogo J. Mphatswe


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